Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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NaNo Update

November 6, 2013

11/6:  689 (I’ve had root canals that were less difficult.)

11/5:  1,747

11/4:  –

11/3:  –

11/2: –

11/1:  300

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Comical Inspiration

October 14, 2012

Cons set off the word-muse in my brain.

Erika also sets off the word-muse in my brain.

Consequently, emailing Erika a con report resulted in quite possibly one of my favorite things I’ve ever written.

Be amused, damn it.

I was talking to an editor yesterday who asked me what I wrote. I said something to get past the moment, and then worked on my elevator speech this morning in the shower. (I *also* spent all-the-water-in-NYC this morning making zombie arms in the shower, so I am now clean, literarily acute, and fully prepared to play dead with any passing armies of hygienically adept shamble men.)

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A Quick Psychology Lesson . . .

June 15, 2012

First thing you should know–I have a pet peeve about badly characterized fan fiction.  If you want to play with the known boundaries of a character, by all means explore the ways that psych ping A will lead to reaction B.  That’s where most of the fun is . . . but you *must* *must* *must* sell me on the grounding of the premise. 

Second thing you should know–I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Gray, and I only made it through the first two books of Twilight.  So, a lot of my skepticism about both stories comes from an admitedly uninformed position.  However, I deem it highly unlikely that the author would have been able to sell me (no matter how amazing the discount) on the concept of the Edward/Bella characters evolving into the premise. 

It’s not like I’m a die-hard cynic.   Liz and I used to play the game all the time–“would you buy the characterization if I did *this*???  What about at *this* price?”

“Oh, you’ll love this fic . . . just suspend your disbelief from the nearest tree before you read it.”

Sometimes you have a bridge too far.  Sometimes you have a nifty thought experiment.

Which leads me to my Friday afternoon activities.  When I get bored, I sometimes have BAD ideas.  Other times, I feel compelled to undertake ridiculous dares. 

See below.

Reading CNN articles about Fifty Shades of Gray:
BAD IDEA

Reading the comments in CNN articles about Fifty Shades of Gray:
BAD IDEA

Reading the below comment in CNN articles about Fifty Shades of Gray:

Julian
Sorry, but the popularity of the book is messed up for many reasons. First of all, the whole idea that it is Twilight fan fiction is dumb. I mean you take a story, take out the vampire part, change all the personalities and names, and somehow that is related. Heck, it’s like Star Wars fan fiction about some guys living in New York.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

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If I Were In Charge

May 18, 2012

Just saw another trailer for season 2 of Falling Skies.

I thought the first season was entertaining and watchable, but not exactly ground-breaking on screen (they have a great transmedia push happening online, though, which is definitely a step in the right direction).

S1 ended with a few revelations. . . the skittery aliens were “harnessed”, too, and there appeared to be tall & skinnies acting as the spider overlords.

And then there was the part where Noah Wylie left with the aliens to have a little powwow.

Okay, fine, whatever.

According to the trailer, NW is going to come back and have to deal with lack of trust, what are the aliens’ *real* plans, etc, etc, etc.

 

Now, I think they have a great opportunity here to do something a little bit more interesting.  I’m hoping that they’ve already considered this and I’m just reading their cues (in which case I will waste no time claiming victory over All The Things, of course).

Anyway–

History is a major theme of the show.  NW is a history prof, the humans couch their efforts in terms of a new revolution, small determined band of freedom fighters, and so forth.

I would love for the humans to become a metaphorical equivalent of the Native Americans, with the aliens becoming the chaotic neutral of the European colonists.  Some good motivations, some bad motivations, but either way–here to stay.

Maybe the skitters are under Slender Men control, and season 2 will see them forging alliances with the humans to throw off the yoke (hyuk hyuk), and all the usual blah blah blah, but wouldn’t a season 3 where society –a human/alien society–starts to integrate and rebuild itself be just absolutely *yummy*???

 

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Minutiae

February 20, 2012

I’m supposed to be prepping my second set of beta tonight.

Yes, that's EXACTLY how it's going.

Round one of the story was sent to Erika without even stopping to spell-check because I was so dizzy with tracking character development and falling face-first into a major new plot point of an old story.  Now that a little of the desperation has abated, my pride refuses to let me send it out without at least checking for word duplications and embarrassing homophones.

(I once got a note back–and it was a very small note–that has haunted me for years.  I remember so clearly; the line was “Another entry in Rogue Squadron’s role of the dead.”   She’d made a neat entry “roll, not role“, and I’m three-thousand percent sure she doesn’t even remember it, but I was just *mortified*.  Like, couldn’t bare it without baited breathe mortified.)*

Where has this graphic been all my life?

Anyway, I had a point, once upon a time.  Specifically, at the time a few minutes ago when I decided I should stop editing RIGHT NOW and go create a blog post (I will do almost anything to avoid serious editing), and I’m sure that if you’ll only give me a second it will come back to. . .

Oh, yeah.

There are two main reasons I dread editing.  The first has to do with re-reading my work ad infinitum, and the corresponding hatred I develop for my own voice.  Every word soon becomes a nails-on-a-chalkboard-level irritant.

The second actually kind of amuses me, in a sick, twisted, word-geek kind of way.

It's been a long weekend.

I love writing.  I love words.  And I love the way that writers, probably a little more than anyone else on the planet, can appreciate the very small shades of meaning even the tiniest words are able to infuse into a sentence.  Already tonight I’ve wavered between “a” and “the” several times.  They’re such miniscule building blocks, nearly invisible when you’re reading, but oh, the work they do.  I’m dealing with a character who has undergone extraordinary trauma (okay, maybe not so extraordinary for one of my characters . . . ), and he’s created a trick of psychology that keeps him mentally distant from pretty much everything he encounters.  As a result, I’m having to carefully monitor my own descriptions when I’m writing from his POV.  I had a reference to “his fingers”, and couldn’t figure out why it was skewing the whole para.  Made the switch to “the fingers” and the proper tone suddenly snapped into place and carried through.

This is a good thing!  This is a great thing!  I love this thing!  But, of course I end up micro-focusing to the point of paralysis, and then I do unrelated blog posts because HEY, BLOGS ARE WORDS, TOO!, so it doesn’t mean I’m slacking off or doing something like checking my email.

Speaking of . . .

Okay, back.  Nothing new.

Also, need to take a moment to give major kudos to Will Heltsley.  I found this chart when I was double-checking “homonym” vs “homophone”, because to be completely honest I didn’t pay attention to most of this stuff when it was being taught in Language Arts.  Actually, I hated Language Arts in a real and visceral way.  It fell into the category of “stuff I kind of knew how to do intuitively without wanting to learn all the stupid words and labels, and also YOU SMELL FUNNY, you mean old nasty teacher who doesn’t think I’m funny.”

Ahem.  Sorry.  Childhood trauma, bitterness, cruel and twisted educational system, etc.

I mean–great chart, Will!  I have since learned a proper appreciation of the rules (even some of the stupid ones), and a good Venn diagram is guaranteed to make me weak (geek?) at the knees.

Just please don’t ask me to diagram a sentence.  I never learned it properly, I don’t like doing it, and somehow the poor sentence always ends up with a fake moustache and some unkindly-worded dangling clauses that were totally not my fault at all.

Holy cow! This is freakin' amazing!

*Hey, some people have nightmares about showing up for school in their underwear.  I have nightmares about absent-minded word substitution.**

**Also, showing up for school in my underwear.

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What Ever Happened to Those Stamps, Anyway?

February 15, 2012

Ahh, the heady days of high school, when my friends and I would edit sound clips into hysterical conversations and swap them back and forth on floppy disc as a kind of pre-exam good luck charm.

(Seriously. The disc was a 3.5, lurid yellow, and some bright spark had decorated it with a X-Wing vs TIE fighter marker-stamp battle. No idea who that could have been, of course.)

The final line in each one was, without fail, Vader saying “All Too Easy.”

For good or ill, that has become the defining sound of victory for me.

Why does the internet need to know this? Three very good, very solid, very necessary reasons:

1. I miss those files. Or, perhaps, I miss the days when those files presaged the heady exhilaration of blitzing through an exam.

2. I feel it lends credibility to my pretensions of mega-geek status, something that is sorely challenged in our current meme-of-the-week and techno-super-highway world. (I sometimes find myself sticking to the techno-two-lane instead.)

3. It’s stuck in my head today.

Why? I thought you’d never ask.

I compiled my February writing to-date, and was pleased to see I have twenty-one pages. Considering I’m only writing about 30 minutes a day, not too bad!

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If You Figure It Out, You Can Tell Me!

June 23, 2010

I had a character show me something the other day. . . a moment that absolutely *screams* write me!–it’s angsty and heartfelt and heartwrenching and dynamic and wonderful.

But I couldn’t figure out the story–just one single motion from a nameless, faceless character.

Hmm.

I put it in the back (okay, side corner, lower left) of my mind, wondering what use it was. This morning on the way to work I got a little more–this time, a female, and she kind of informed the two or three seconds before the guy had opened the door. Enough to give me two points of contact between them.

Groovy, right?

I now had exactly four seconds of compelling information with zero context, the train appeared to have forgotten to come to my station, and so I sat there, sweltering, trying to parse out who and what was going on in my brain.

Here’s the problem. Thematically, what I saw would fit well into one of my stories. . . except that story is set in a high fantasy universe, and these characters are operating at some level of modernity–the guy had a Big Soldier Gun and looked vaguely military or paramilitary–not the horseback-riding sword and sorcery everyone else is working with.

Rae mentioned that the female character resembled someone in the World-Building Epic–which is true, but nothing like that ever happened to Lessa, and while Rae did (of course) offer to play Lessa-playing-the-random-chick-in-the-doorway, I’m not sure that it belongs with them, either.

I have two modern pieces, and this could possibly fit into one of them, IF I darkened it considerably (both of my moderns are much more rom-com than action-adventure) and introduced some thematic elements that bring it dangerously close to some of the X-Men storylines–something I’m understandably reluctant to do.

I keep coming back to my spy, though. . . the one that showed up a few months ago and died. He’s not the guy I saw, but the story has the same feeling, like their universes are made of the same fiber and texture. Not entirely. . . the spy felt sepia-toned and anti-social, and I don’t see how the new two fit in.

Are they a new world?

None of these are questions that you can answer, of course, but the thoughts didn’t seem to want to stay in my mind (back quadrant, center block, right side), and I was hoping seeing them in the aetherverse would help.

In other news, I think I might be addicted to Wolfmother’s Joker & The Thief.